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The Reel World: It's basketball, baby!

March Madness tips off with Selection Sunday on March 12, 2023. As you gear up to watch the men's tournament and the women’s tournament you should check out the amazing basketball documentaries I found. My top picks cover small town high school basketball, an impressive female athlete from Kansas, a story of basketball and civil rights, and the first jump shot. Read on to learn a bit more about these films.

Alaskan Nets

Alaskan Nets DVD: A pair of hands holding a basketballMetlakatla is Alaska's last Native Indian reserve. For hundreds of years two distinct traditions have defined their community – fishing and basketball. Watch as two cousins lead their local high school team toward a shot at their first state championship in more than 30 years. In the aftermath of an unimaginable tragedy, a basketball title breathes new life into this small town.


The Jackie Stiles Story

Jackie Stiles is the greatest basketball player you've probably never heard of. This is the story of a 5'8" girl from a small Kansas town, population 600, who became a basketball legend in the Midwest. Against all odds, Jackie became the all-time leading scorer in NCAA history, a record she held for 16 years. She accomplished this feat through hard work and unwavering determination. Her coaches and teammates agree that Jackie's work ethic will probably never be matched.


The Loyola Project

In 1963, at the height of the civil rights movement, the Loyola Ramblers of Chicago broke racial barriers and changed college basketball forever. Nearly 60 years later, Loyola basketball player and co-captain Lucas Williamson reexamines this legendary team. Woven together with archival footage and modern day interviews, this captivating story provides inspiration in the fight for equality.

We also have this available in Blu-Ray.

Jump Shot

Attendees of the 1943 NCAA Basketball Championships at Madison Square Garden witnessed something almost no one had ever seen – a "leaping one-hander" now known as the "jump shot." This shot revolutionized the game and launched an unheralded squad from the University of Wyoming to the trophy.

Watch this inspiring true story of Kenny Sailors, the developer and innovator of the shot. Kenny quickly grew to be a fan favorite while leading his Wyoming Cowboys to the 1943 Collegiate National Championship. However, after playing on several losing teams in an unstable, emerging league now known as the NBA, Kenny disappeared into the Alaskan wilderness. He was forgotten by the sport he helped pioneer. Now, the multitude of people he touched along the way forced Kenny's humble reemergence.

More basketball

If you want more basketball, you can

  • re-watch the 2022 final dance where KU beat North Carolina 72-69
  • read up on the history of the first NCAA Basketball Tournament Champions in March 1939 by Terry Frei,
  • read about the lesser-known Cinderella stories in The Back Roads to March by John Feinstein, and
  • explore the growth and popularity of the bracket in Bracketology by Joe Lunardi.

Check out our sports area for a great selection of basketball books and DVDs from high school to professional level to find a story that intrigues you.

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